Monday, April 25, 2016

I Love Serving in Dolan Springs!

Q&A - 04/25/2016
I know I send a lot of pictures of sunsets, but
the sunsets here are all so good!

1.)  Transfer week is just around the corner.  You have hinted that you think you'll be leaving Dolan Springs.  How do you feel about that?  When will you find out for sure if you are staying or going?  -- I definitely have mixed feelings about it.  On the one hand, I love this place so much, and I feel like I've put so much effort into making it into a productive area, and now just when it seems like we're getting ready to see all of the fruits of our labors, I might be leaving.  But that being said, me being here for the results isn't really the important part.  The important part is that I was able to spend time with all of these amazing people and help bring them closer to Christ.  And even though I know that I'm going to miss this area, and it seems impossible that I'll love my next area as much as this one, I felt the same way when I left Haven. It's so weird to think about the fact that all of these people that I didn't even know 5 months ago are now such a huge part of my life that I'll have to leave soon.  But I know that the Lord will send me to wherever it is that I need to be and that I'll grow to love the people there every bit as much as the people here!

2.)  Since transfers will happen the same week that you'll get to call home for Mother's Day (yes, that's just around the corner and I'm just a tad bit excited about that!!), do you think you'll be able to give us a time to expect your call next week when you write or will things be too much in the air? Just whatever is easiest and best for you!  We can plan around it!  -- I honestly have no idea about how it's all going to work out.  I'm super excited too though! It seems like the Christmas call was just yesterday, but here we are again already! 

3.)  We've heard rumor that you have a general authority coming for an upcoming mission meeting. Do you know who it is and when is the meeting?  -- I meant to tell you guys about that last week, but it must have slipped my mind while I was emailing.  It's true! We'll have an apostle coming to visit our mission and it's going to be Elder Holland!  Everyone is so ridiculously excited to meet him and to learn from him. It's going to be a pretty big deal, and the Las Vegas West mission will be there as well, so it's going to be close to 400 missionaries that will  be there!  We're not allowed to take any recording equipment in with us like phones or iPads, but from what I understand there will be a picture taken by a professional photographer of the whole mission with Elder Holland and I'm sure that will be sent home.  We also found out that he wants to take the time to shake every missionaries hand and get to know them briefly, so that will be amazing too!

4.)  What was the best part of your week?  -- We had some really good lessons this last week!  I'll tell you about one of my favorites.  One of the lessons we had was with a woman named Anna. I'm not sure if I've told you guys much about Anna and her family.  Anna is probably in her late 50's, and she is currently the guardian for 4 of her grandchildren.  They're the ones that we had a bonfire with last week. In addition to those four kids, pretty much every other kid in Dolan Springs spends a lot of time at Anna's house and she takes care of all of them. Anna is going through some really hard times right now.  She's going through court to gain permanent custody of the kids instead of just temporary custody, and that on top of taking care of the 4 kids plus all of the other kids being around all of the time has her really stressed out. Her and her 4 kids have been working towards a baptismal date of May 7th, but it's looking like they won't make that date because Anna's been struggling with getting to church because they have no car and she's always busy with other things. The member that was out with us for the lesson, Brother Powell, is a convert to the church. He joined the church about 13 years ago, and he had a lot of the same concerns that Anna has been going through.  He shared his testimony of the way he overcame those struggles and how much the church has blessed his life since he overcame those things. The spirit in that meeting was incredible, and by the end of it, both Brother Powell and Anna were in tears.  It's such a blessing to be able to see the peace that comes from the Holy Ghost enter people's lives, and see it begin to change them.  You can literally see the change come over people, especially in their eyes.  I'm so thankful for the chance that I have to play a small part in helping other people bring that peace into their lives!

5.)  What are you looking forward to in the week ahead?  -- Definitely the visit from Elder Holland.  I know that it's going to be so amazing to actually be in the same room with a spiritual giant like him and to be able to hear the things that he's been told by the Lord to share with us!

Hey everybody!

I've already told you about a lot of the stuff I was going to write about.  I ended up writing about most everything in the Q&A my mom sent me this week.  I guess she knows the right questions to ask!

There is one really cool experience that I haven't told you about yet though!  I'm not sure if I mentioned last week, but one my responsibilities as a district leader is to interview the people that other companionships in our district have been teaching before they are baptized and make sure that they're ready.  Needless to say, it's a bit of an overwhelming responsibility! I had the chance yesterday evening to have my first baptismal interview.  I was definitely nervous about it, and spent a lot of time praying to Heavenly Father to magnify my efforts so I would be able to ask the right questions and make the right decisions to make it a spiritual experience for the person.  I was also extra nervous because this interview would be a little different than most: because of the distance between all of the areas out here and the fact that the sister's who had been teaching the person needed the girl to be interviewed soon so that she would be able to make the date that she had been preparing for, the interview had to be done over Skype! Anyways, it turns out that all of my nerves and fear were unfounded, because it ended up being one of the coolest and most spiritual experiences of my mission so far.  The girl I interviewed was 16 years old, and she just had the sweetest spirit and was so prepared and excited to be baptized.  It's really hard to explain, but being involved in the baptismal process, in this new and different way, allowed me to be able to see it in a completely new light, and was an amazing experience.  I'm so thankful for the chance that I had to interview her and to be able to feel of the spirit in the new, unique, and amazing way. 

I think that that's all I have time for this week! I love you all so much and am so grateful for all of the love, prayers, and support!  

Elder Excell 

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